SearchCloud.net is a Internet searching tool based on changing the size of your key words to show how important they are.
As you type in each key word, you give it a size to show its relative importance in your search results.
I can immediately see the benefit of using this with students because of the visual nature of seeing the relationship between the importance of words due to their size.
I am sure that like me, you have spent many classroom minutes going over Internet searching techniques and skills, following processes like this one (pictured below) and more, only to still see you students typing in a full question with all the and’s, to’s, the’s and 5w’s. Arrrggghhh!
SearchCloud to me immediately reinforces, by the nature of the cloud, the representation of a lot of the ideas about successfully searching the net, especially that initial entering of the search words phase.
The question is though, does it give better results as the developers claim?
From my initial use of this tool, it certainly gives different results from Google, and they do seem weighted towards the larger, more important key words.
However there seems to be a tendency to go more with blogs or less ‘official’ sources of information. I am not sure how the CloudNet searching engine actually works, it seems to be driven by a site’s (or blog post’s) attached tags. But that is just my guesswork.
What I can say is that I really love the visual approach to the search and the ability to give more weight to a search term is brilliant for younger users to really understand the importance of key wording and therefore contributing to their information literacy skills. This is not enough though by itself though and the skills of skimming scanning, synthesizing, analyzing, comparing… are still vitally important.
More info in this YouTube clip.